A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske was my first ever Illumicrate book, and I chose to read with the readalong on discord which was a lot of fun. And also means that I don’t end up with these books living on my tbr forever!
This book was a lot more romance heavy than I had been expecting. I had went in thinking it would be an adult historical fantasy with romance. It’s not. It’s more like an adult historical romance with fantasy. I did still enjoy it, but a lot less than if it had been less romantic, so beware going in.
We follow two men. One who is “normal” (Robin) and one who lives in this magical side of the world (Edwin). Robin is exposed to magic and put in danger, and they have to work together with Edwin to fix everything and get back to a normal life. But of course, with this being a romance, Robin and Edwin’s relationship soon develops into something more.
In terms of the fantastical aspects I absolutely adore the magic system within this book which involves cats cradles. One of our two main POV’s is a magician, Edwin, but he struggles with magic and so uses a physical string to construct his magic. This is such a beautiful concept and honestly is what kept me going with this book. I want to learn more about it!
The start of the book was hella sexist. I think that it’s supposed to be a setup for just how powerful women are shown to be in this masculine centred world, but it still felt quite odd and uncomfortable. Perhaps that was the point? I don’t know.
There were so many cliffhangers throughout this. I’m not sure how much of this was just good choice in end chapters from the Illumicrate team and how much was just a large number of cliffhangers! But surprisingly in almost a 180, the plot actually took a backseat in this novel. It was still really interesting, I absolutely adored the plot, but it wasn’t the primary focus of the novel. That was the romance.
I loved the character development throughout the novel, the romance aspect was a little much for me and I would’ve preferred to see it toned down, but the actual relationship between the two men was really lovely to see develop.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 7, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 7, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 8, giving a score of 7.71 and a rating of 4*.
I think that I will be picking up the sequel, because it’s supposed to be following Robin’s sister as she travels by ship to New York. This series is set to be a trilogy so depending on how book 2: A Restless Truth, goes. Well I might pick up number 3 too. I also really hope that Illumicrate does a matching edition for the rest of the series because their cover was gorgeous!